UnStatin Your Body

UnStatin Your Body

Millions of Americans are consuming one cholesterol-lowering pill or another,
often with a host of side effects. Unfortunately, those same people have no idea what it
means to have high cholesterol, how it’s formed in the body before they even start a drug
and/or doctor-recommended diet regimen.
Cholesterol is made in the liver and is also in many of the foods most people eat.
It’s a waxy substance that is found in meat, meat by-products, milk, egg yolks, and
cheese. Good cholesterol is used to build cell walls, produce hormones as well as
vitamins, including vitamin D. However, too much bad cholesterol in the blood stream
can lead to heart disease or strokes. When there is an imbalance between good
cholesterol and bad cholesterol, it can build up on the walls of the arteries and create
plaque, which blocks the flow of blood through the body. The plaque that has built up in
the arteries can also burst which leads to blood clots in the body’s critical vessels
including those leading to the heart and the brain (Statin Usage, 2013).
Contributors to high cholesterol are processed foods, animal products and by-
products, a diet high in saturated fats and alleged family history (genetic pre-
disposition). Your Total Cholesterol reveals the amount of LDL-C (low-density
lipoprotein cholesterol), HDL-C (high density lipoprotein cholesterol), and other fats in
the blood. The information is only a snapshot of your cholesterol levels which is why
each type is also measured separately. For example, LDL cholesterol is known as “bad”
cholesterol because it transports cholesterol to artery walls while HDL-C, “good”
cholesterol, removes cholesterol from artery walls and sends it back to the liver to be

cleared from the body (Statin Usage, 2013). The more good cholesterol you have in
relation to bad cholesterol determines how well the body cleanses itself of the
cholesterol it doesn’t need. Triglycerides are another form of fat in the blood that is
stored in the body’s fat cells and used for energy. Ironically, there are no symptoms of
high cholesterol alone which is why blood analysis is so important.
In the United States, approximately 71-100 million people suffer from high
cholesterol, with women more likely to have it than men who tend to have a higher
incidence of cardiovascular disease (Statin Usage, 2013). While females (non-Hispanic)
take the lead for high cholesterol levels at 18 percent, according to a study from the CDC
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), while African-Americans have the least
incidence though their general risk of heart disease is much higher (FDA 2014). To
combat the problem, doctors will tell you to lower the amount of saturated fat and
cholesterol you consume. The easiest way to do this is to cut out all animal products and
by products and eat only raw fruits and vegetables. Such a diet eliminates the need for
pharmaceuticals and even over-the- counter/homeopathic remedies.
However, everyone loves a “magic bullet” which is why 25 percent of Americans
over the age of 45 are taking statin drugs, with 75 percent stopping the use of the drug
after only one year even if they still have high cholesterol (Statin Usage, 2013). Concern
over the side effects from statin drugs is growing while the desire to use healthy eating
to combat high cholesterol is increasing. For example, a recent update from the FDA
regarding statin drugs included warnings about cognitive (mental) decline, a nine
percent increased risk of developing diabetes, and an increased risk of musculoskeletal
injuries, including sprains, strains, and dislocations (FDA 2014). The study on
musculoskeletal injuries involved 6,967 statin users and an equal number of matched

controls. Maximum doses of the drugs were taken by one-third of the participants and
the results revealed an increase of 19 percent risk of all types of injuries to the
musculoskeletal system, an increase of 13 percent risk for dislocations, sprains, and
strains, and a nine percent increased risk of pain (FDA 2014). Those numbers are far
greater than the benefits of statin drugs, which according to the FDA showed the risk for
a cardiovascular event/episode decreased by only about 1.2 percent for Crestor, and 1.6
percent for Lipitor. Those are not great results, yet the doctors keep prescribing those
medicines notwithstanding their ineffectiveness and the side effects.
While researchers have even the AHA (American Heart Association)
have been concerned with diet modifications, the recommendations were
insufficient to correct and reverse the problem because they still relied on the original
food pyramid. In 2000, the AHA completely changed its diet guidelines to include a
plant-based diet plus a reduction in saturated fats and low-cholesterol foods (Stanford
University, 2015). To match what the AHA found, Stanford University School of
Medicine’s Prevention Research Center “conducted a study designed to determine
whether a plant-based diet consistent with the 2000 AHA dietary guidelines would be
more effective in lowering blood cholesterol than the previously recommended low-fat,
low-cholesterol diet” (2015). Researchers “randomly assigned” the 125 participants in
the study who had moderately elevated cholesterol (Stanford University, 2015). One
group ate a plant-based diet that was high in fiber, nutrients, and phytochemicals, and
low in saturated fats and cholesterol. The other group ate a “convenience foods-based
diet with the same level of total and saturated fat and cholesterol” (Stanford University,
2015). The group on the plant-based diet saw a significant reduction in their total and

LDL cholesterol levels compared to those who ate a regular low-fat diet (Stanford
University, 2015).
The human body uses fats from the diet to produce cholesterol on its own, which
why you don’t need additional sources of cholesterol, especially bad cholesterol. Plant-
based foods help the liver function better, help produce good cholesterol, and provide
immune system-supporting antioxidants. Some foods that do the trick are lutein-rich
spinach which helps protect against macular degeneration and reduces bad cholesterol
by preventing clogging of the arteries (McClees, 2015). Two cups of spinach also
contains vitamin E, magnesium, 10 grams of protein, B vitamins all of which help keep
the liver and metabolism healthy (McClees, 2015). Avocados have a direct effect on
reducing cholesterol because they contain beta-sitosterols, a fat that lowers bad
cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL) (McClees, 2015).
Garlic, as in real garlic cloves, isn’t just a seasoning, it is a food that when fresh
and finely chopped is top notch for reducing cholesterol and nixing blood clots. For a
sweet treat, have some berries. They are loaded “with soluble fibers that reduce high
cholesterol and assist with good digestion. They’re also a top source of antioxidants that
fight immune system invaders to improve your overall health” (McClees, 2015). Try
some strawberries, blueberries, acai berries, golden berries, mulberries, goji berries,
blackberries, raspberries, and/or cranberries, and others either alone of make a
fruit salad out of a collection of them. Your body will love you for using such good
taste when preparing a healthy meal and your cholesterol levels will be healthier than
ever.

References
FDA. (2014). FDA Expands Advice on Statin Risks. Retrieved from
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm293330.htm
McClees, H. (2015). 10 Plant-Based Foods that Promote Healthier Cholesterol Levels.
Retrieved from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/plant- based-foods- that-
promote-healthier- cholesterol-levels/
Stanford University. (2015). The Effect of a Plant-Based Diet on Plasma Lipids.
Retrieved from http://nutrition.stanford.edu/projects/plant_based.html
Statin Usage. (2013). Cholesterol Overview. Retrieved from
http://www.statinusage.com/Pages/cholesterol-overview.aspx

2018-05-09T13:59:41-07:00

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